Get ready to add a new item to your bucket list this winter: for the first time ever, you can ice skate in front of Parliament Hill in Canada’s Capital! From Dec. 7, 2017 to Feb. 25, 2018 (end date now extended to Wednesday, February 28), the Canada 150 Rink in front of Centre Block will be bustling with free skating, special guests, as well as a variety of exciting events. It’s the chance of a lifetime to enjoy Canada’s favourite winter activity in front of the most Canadian of backdrops!
Free skating and viewing
The Canada 150 Rink is a special NHL-sized refrigerated rink located on the southeast lawn of Parliament Hill in Ottawa. To spread the skating joy, free skating passes are released on the Canada 150 Rink website 48 hours prior to each available skating date.
The rink is open weekdays from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and weekends from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Skating passes are not available during certain periods due to planned special events. Each skating session is approximately 45 minutes and up to 200 people of all ages can skate at the same time.
You can bring your own skates and helmets, or rent some at the Capital Information Kiosk at 90 Wellington Street, directly across from Parliament Hill. If you or others in your party prefer to simply enjoy the view, there is seating for approximately 1,000 people in the surrounding stands, available on a first-come, first-served basis. The skating rink and the viewing platform are fully accessible.
For more information on accessibility, skating guidelines, reservations and everything else you need to know, visit the Canada 150 Rink website.
In addition to free skating, a variety of special programming is being offered by participating partners Canadian Heritage, the Ottawa International Hockey Festival and the Ottawa Senators. Here are just a few highlights:
- Dec. 7: Skating on the Canada 150 Rink begins at 11:00 a.m. At 7:00 p.m., the Christmas Lights Across Canada program is launched with free BeaverTails, hot chocolate, live music and colourful pyrotechnics. (You can see the colourful lights across downtown Ottawa and the winter lightscapes show projected on Centre Block nightly until Jan. 7, 2018.)
- Dec. 9-10: During Flavours of the North (1:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.), top Canadian chefs team up with local food trucks and Indigenous chefs to prepare and serve free samples of northern fare, as well as give cooking demonstrations. Other animations will be offered including First Nations hand drum lessons in a tipi, music and dancing.
- Dec. 10: Enjoy skating performances, music, dance, and much more during Canada 150 Skating Day.
- Dec. 15: See Team Alfredsson and Team Phillips compete in the Ottawa Senators Alumni Game at 7:00 p.m.
- Dec. 17: The day after the 2017 Scotiabank NHL100 Classic outdoor hockey game, the Ottawa Senators host a Christmas-themed skate with refreshments, prizes, Christmas music, photo opportunities, Spartacat, Santa and more (12:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.).
- Dec. 30 and 31: Take part in a variety of activities and entertainment including music, dancing and First nations culture.
- Dec. 31: Gather with friends and family for the same programming as Dec. 30, plus the special Canada 150 Closing Party on the Hill in the evening to celebrate New Year’s Eve: DJs, a live performance by Canada’s own hip-hop ambassador Kardinal Offishall, pyrotechtics, a laser show just before midnight, and much more!
We want to see your photos and videos of this once in a lifetime winter opportunity! Share your favourite moments with us by using the #MyOttawa hashtag.